Thursday, September 25, 2008

Final Interview

(imagine interviewing at THIS desk! Bridgette would be thrilled.)

Ok, here's the home stretch, the final 2 questions are really the opportunity for the interviewee to shine:

11) What about our church makes you want this position? Why would we want to hire you?
In one sense, here's the opportunity to butter them up. You say nice things about the church (organization, etc) and you get brownie points. But the truth is, this is more about whether you see them the way they see themselves - do you paint an accurate portrait, or are you naive about who they are? And do you get whether you're a good match or not? Because you could just as easily say - "I want to come here because you don't have X, and X is my passion, and I think you need X - which is why I believe you want to hire me" - as you can say "I love Y, you're great at Y, and so we're such a great fit." This is as much a chance to sell yourself as any other question, if not more. They'll want to hire you more if you actually bring something to the table.

Now, as an interviewee, whether I'm asked this question or not, I'm going to turn the tables and ask them the same question about me. "Why are you interviewing me? What in my resume (PIF for Presby pastors) struck you that said I could be a good fit for this position? Why would you want to hire me?" I will ALWAYS ask this question because it gives me a clear understanding of what they're expecting. Are they expecting a saviour? Are they expecting a team player? Are they expecting someone to rock the boat? Are they simply enamored with a hobby of mine? Do they really know me? And if you're in a late stage interview, a final candidate, you better pray they know you, or you could be in for some trouble when they find out who you really are.

12) What is the single greatest issue/need in our culture today? What is the single greatest issue/need in the Church (overall) today?
Finally, this question gets right to the heart of what you'll be doing. What you believe should directly and deeply impact what you do. If you think the greatest issue in the culture is permissive morals and that the church has lost its fervor for holiness, you'll probably spent time preaching and teaching on this, and you probably won't be drawn to throw vast amounts of energy into ministering to the poor, caring for the sick, etc. On the other hand, if you view justice, or a lack thereof as the single greatest issue/need in our culture and the Church's idol of nationality (driving it into war instead of peace) as #1, then you may not fit in well where you're asked to pray "for the troops" in worship each month, sing patriot songs and shake hands with veterans. Personally, I think the church needs the prophetic witness as much as the compassionate shepherd, but each of us is wired differently, and each situation is unique. If your view of culture & church fits the context of where you're looking, great. If not, it's good to recognize during (or shortly after) an interview, but before you're stuck in a situation that doesn't fit.

I hope this has been interesting reading. As I've reflected on these questions I've continued to go back and forth about whether the interviewer or interviewee is actually gaining the information. And truth be told, I believe it's both. It's like dating. And both people need to figure out if the dating continues toward a permanent (or semi-permanent) relationship or not. If you're serious about it, I believe you'll recognize that honesty and clarity are way more important than simply "getting the job" - whether you're in ministry or secular employment. And clarity takes time and effort. Speaking of effort...

1) Tell me about what you’re doing now – what do you enjoy & dislike? Why do you want/did you leave? (What have you been doing since you left?) What lead you there in the first place & how has that experience informed your view of ministry?

2) How was the transition from volunteer to staff/minster?

3) What has been your greatest struggle in ministry so far?

4) Tell me about your faith journey? What are the 3 most significant moments in your walk with Christ? Who are the 3 most significant people who have shaped you & your understanding of your call to ministry?

5) Tell me about your family? Growing up?

6) Tell me about your support network? Friends?

7) What are your hobbies & interests? How do you keep balanced? What do you do when not involved in ministry? (What did you do when you worked at __________ - away from the church?)

8) What would others say is your greatest strength in ministry? Weakness?

9) How do you apply your degree to ministry?

10) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

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